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Pnsitleiit of the Toronto Young Men's Conservative Association, 





NATION-BUILDING is usually a slow process. The 
growth of European countries has been the work of 
centuries ; the Constitution of Great Britain itself has 
been the result of evolution through ages of internecine 
strife or patriotic struggle. The United States as it 
appears to-day is the consequence of over a hundred years 
of experiment, experience and even civil war. Canada 
has, however, been more fortunate. The Colonies as they 
existed prior to confederation were, it is true, born of a 
combination of war and privation and nursed in doubt and 
danger, but the union of 1867 under the broad folds of 
the national emblem removed serious risk and enabled 
them to enter upon a period of material development and 
i'egislative improvement. The national heritage then 
presented to, or shortly afterwards acquired by, a people 
numbering but three millions was indeed a vast and noble 
possession. With a territory larger than the United 
States ; equalling to-day one-third of the whole British 
Empire; having the greatest extent of coaso-line ; che 
greatest coal measures ; the most varied distribution of 
precious and economic minerals ; the greatest number of 
miles of river and lake navigation ; the widest extent of 
coniferous forest ; the most extensive and most valuable 
salt and fresh water fisheries, and probably the vastest and 
most fertile districts of arable and pastoral land upon the 
face of the globe, it is little wonder that the Canadian 

people felt they had a country, as Lord Duflferin has put 
it, worth living for and worth dying for. 

Leaving the sounding sea with its vast and valuable 
fisheries upon the coast of the Maritime Provinces, travel- 
ling through the historic Province of Quebec, with its 
antique yet prosperity-giving system of slow and sure 
cultivation of splendid agricultural resources ; then on 
through the great pivotal Province of Ontario, with its 
prosperous farms, its great oiines of nickel and iron, and 
its wealthy cities, by the shores or upon the waters of 
great lakes that may fittingly be called seas ; on to the 
Province of Manitoba and the vast prairies and golden 
wheat-fields of the great North- West, over ground which 
contains untold treasures of coal, or upon rivers teeming 
with every variety of fresh water fish ; the Rockies are 
finally reached, and a brief transition through mountain 
grandeur lands the Canadian in the beautiful and favoured 
Province of British Columbia. 

Even then we have not touched the fringe of the great 
Mackenzie Basin, where, in almost complete and primeval 
obscurity, lie a million square miles of territory, and 
resources rich enough for the home of a great nation. Across 
the Canadian half of the North American continent is 
indeed a revelation of natural richness such as can perhaps 
be encountered in no other part of the world. A.nd it was 
to develop this territory, to knit these great Provinces 
together, to promote trade and intercourse, to make Van- 
couver the entrepot of British commerce with the OrieiflF, 
to enable Canadians from the Atlantic to the Pacific to 
hail a united and progressive Dominion, that over a hun- 
dred millions of money was spent upon the construction of 
the Canadian Pacific Railway. Who dare say to-day that 
it was money mis-spent 1 True, criticism has been ram- 
pant and opposition powerful, but nothing succeeds like 
success, and the 20,000,000 or 30,000,000 bushels of grain 
which have this year been shipped from the fertile North- 
West to feed the millions of the Mother Country, is alone 
suflScient compensation for the construction of such a great 
national and Imperial highway. 

The promotion of trade with the East is also a mosfe 
important consideration, and the fast steamship lines now 

running between Vancouver and Japan, the coming con- 
nection with Australia, and the hoped-for swift steamers 
between Halifax and Liverpool will enable British com- 
merce to travel over British soil and under the British 
flag to the furthest confines of Asia. Indeed, no more 
prophetic words were ever written than those penned by 
William H. Seward when Secretary of State under Presi- 
dent Lincoln : — 

" Having its Atlantic seaport at Halifax and its Pacific 
depot near Vancouver Island, British America would inevi- 
tably draw to it the commerce of Europe, Asia and the 
United States. Thus from a mere colonial dependency it 
would assume a controlling rank in the world. To her 
other nations would be tributary ; and in vain would the 
United States attempt to be her rival, for we could never 
dispute with her the possession of the Asiatic commerce, 
nor the power which that commerce confers." 

To-day the C.P.R. is menacing the prosperity of 
American railroads, upon which were spent twice the capi- 
tal and around which hovers the prestige of many years' 
business and experience. But competition is useless. The 
great natural highway of the continent is upon Canadian 
soil, and minor roads must necessarily become tributary to 
its progress. 

Precedent to the building of the Canadian Pacific was 
the Confederation of the Provinces. Commencing with 
Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime Provinces, under the 
guiding hand and inspiration of that patriotic and far- 
seeing statesman. Sir John Macdonald, it was but a few 
years before the Dominion covered the ground from ocean 
to ocean, and from the great lakes to the Arctic regions. 
Since 1867 the scattered Provinces have' become a nation : 
the hesitating people, spread over far-distant territories, 
have begun to understand the sentiment of unity, while a 
magnetic personality, combined with the aspirations of a 
patriot, have enabled the late great Canadian leader tc 
start a rising nation upon the high-road to greatness. 
More he could not do, and the future depends upon the 
will of a people who are now being sorely subjected to 
alien interference and internal doubt and difficulty. Of 
the material prosperity thus secured within the Dominion, 

there can be little real doubt, and the following table will 
exhibit Canadian development in the most marked man- 
ner : — 

1868. 1S90. 

Deposits chartered banks §32,808,104 8137,187,515 

Deposits savings banks 4,360,392 54,285,985 

Letters and post cards sent 18,100,000 113,580,000 

Miles of railway 2,522 13,256 

Keceipts from freight 12,211,158 29.921,788 

Fire insurance in Canada 188,359,809 684,5:38,378 

Total imports and exports 131,027,532 218,607,390 

Export animals and products. . . 6,893,167 25,106,995 

Export cheese 617,354 9,372,212 

The progress of our trade has been equally great. In 
value it rose from $131,027,532 in 1868 to $172,405,454 
in 1879, when protection was introduced, and thence 
increased to $218,384,934 last year, The exports, which, 
in a new country, are beyond all doubt the most import- 
ant branch of its commerce, increased in the following 
measure : — 

Total exports 1868-72 8283,410,368 

" 1873-77 363,511,828 

" 1878-82 381,402,883 

" 1883-87 405,384,877 

The succeeding five years, if averaged, will amount to a 
total of at least $460,000,000. 

The economic history of Canada is of great interest and 
has perhaps been the cause of moi*e misrepresentation than 
that of any other country in the world. In 1855 the then 
Provinces of Canada entered into a reciprocity treaty with 
the United States by which the natural products of each 
country were exchanged free of duty ; any products made 
free to the Republic being also admitted free from the 
Mother Country, excepting in one or two cases where an 
accidental preference was given, but immediately reme- 
died. The treaty lasted until 1866, when it was abro- 
gated by the United States and never since renewed, 
■although many attempts have been made by the Dominion 
Government to obtain a modification of its principles 
suited to the present time. Owing to an unusual state of 
affairs abroad, great prosperity ensued to the Canadian 
farmer from the arrangement while it remained in force. 

The Crimeaa war was not. yet over when it commenced ; 
wheat was higher in price than ever before or since, and, 
as the Yankee would say, a " general boom " pervaded 
the land. Then followed the local expenditure upon the 
construction of the Grand Trunk Railway, and the Sepoy 
rebellion in India, while the year 1861 saw the inaugura- 
tion of the terrible civil war which rent the Republic in 
twain, took millions from the field and plough, and made 
the Canadian farmer completely master of the situation. 

It is not, therefore, to be wondered at that recollections 
of the reciprocity treaty should still have a glamour to the 
eyes of the farmers in the Dominion. 

Confederation followed the sudden abrogation of the 
treaty, and the fiscal policy of the Government was a tariff 
averaging 17| per cent., levied chiefly for revenue pur- 
poses. This was all right while the United States was 
recovering from the effects of the war, but when about 
1873 and during the time that the Liberals held power, the 
Americans began to pour cheap goods over the seventeen 
per cent, tariff and practically obtained control of our 
markets, whilst we were debarred from theirs by duties 
running from thirty to forty per cent., the effects soon 
became evident in a depression very much greater than 
any prevalent in other countries. It was not, therefore, 
wonderful that Sir John Macdonald and the Conservative 
party should have carried the elections of 1878 upon the 
" National Policy " or proposed system of moderate pro- 
tection, which it was intended «hould be adjusted to the 
changing circumstances of the hour. Since that date 
protection has been the platform of the people, and 
undoubtedly it has, combined vs'ith the unifying effects of 
Sir John's general policy, done much to build up the 
Dominion, create inter-provincial trade and expand 
external commerce. An analysis of the trade under these 
respective policies may be of interest. 


Reciprocity Period 1855-66 $623,922,813 

Revenue tariff 1867-78 841,614,764 

Protective " 1879-90 1,089,469,841 



First Period $ 771,549.129 

Second " 1,091,127,887 

Third " 1,316,091,664 

It will be observed that there has been a steady 
increase in the trade of the country, which rose in total 
bulk from $1,400,000,000 during the reciprocity term to 
$2,400,000,000 under that of protection. The annual 
average during the thirty-five years was as follows : — 

Period. Exports. Imports. 

Keciprocity $51,993,567 §64,304,094 

Revenue tariff 76,510,433 99,193,353 

Protection 90,789,170 109,674,305 

Of course the addition of new territory, the creation 
of fresh lines of communication, and the development of 
canal, river and lake navigation, as well as the increase of 
population, had a good deal to do with this progress in 
trade, but after making every allowance it remains obvious 
that the tarifi change has been an important factor. The 
effects of this expansion in trade have been very great. 
Indirectly every individual has profited ; farms have 
dotted the whole vast country with wide cultivated areas ; 
artisans and manufacturers unite in building up the cities ; 
the North-West is growing with a rapidity fully equal to 
that of the Western States of the Republic ; comfort is 
everywhere visible and paupers almost unknown. Neces- 
sarily, the progress thus made does not contrast in flashi- 
ness with that of the United States. It has not the same 
"boom " element in its composition, but for all that the 
development of Canada has been one of sure, solid and 
beneficial growth ; a progress which has ensured pros- 
perity to the humblest citizen and success to all who wish 
to laBour for it. The growth of the cities, Montreal, 
Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver and other centres has been 
phenomenal, and if the National Policy of protection had 
done nothing else, it would have been fully justified by 
the industrial growth of the country. Mr. Erastus 
Wiman, the millionaire resident of New York, who for 
political motives affects a Canadianism which his policy 
and antecedents disprove, and a gentleman who is cer- 

tainly not likely to deal too leniently with the results of 
any line of action carried out by the Government of Sir 
John Macdonald, said on the first of July, 1887, that : 
'* In the splendour of her cities, in the multitude of her 
public works, in the perfection of her means of communi- 
cation, in the completeness of her educational institutions, 
in the intelligence of her people, and indeed in all that 
goes to make up the greatness of a nation, Canada to-day 
holds a position of proud pre-eminence." 

Over the great railroads of Canada there also rolls a 
yearly-increasing weight of freight and number of passen- 
gers ; while the trade between the provinces, which can 
hardly be said to have had an existence prior to 
1878, has developed under the protective policy with 
liohtning rapidity, and is now estimated to exceed 
$80,000,000 in value. This progress, it must be remem- 
bered, has been made in the teeth of the most strenu- 
ous opposition from within the country and the most 
bitter rivalry without. The party which has adopted 
the name of Liberal in Canada has unfortunately set itself 
to oppose all those great measures which the majority of 
Canadians believe to have built up the wealth and welfare 
of the country. The Canadian Pacific Railway, the enlarge- 
ment of our canals and waterways, the development of 
our industries and protection of the interests of a youthful 
nation against the overwhelming competition of the 
American Republic, have all been contested most vehem- 
ently. The leaders have even gone to the extent of 
belittling the country, thus playing into the hands of the 
politicians and emigration agents over the border, who 
were only too glad to obtain aid of such a nature in mis- 
representing the Dominion throughout Great Britain and 
Continental Europe, with a view to discouraging emigra- 
tion in that direction. The tremendous magnet which a 
great nation of sixty millions oflers has, however, not been 
sufficient to destroy the prosperity of the country, and 
although the recent census only shows an increase in ten 
years of half a million souls, still our people are satisfied 
as a whole that their time is coming. 

The country has good reason for confidence. The 
rivalry of the United States for British emigrants and 


capital is nearing its end, and our golden North-West and 
great mineral resources are bound to be the coming centre 
of attraction for the British settler and capitalist. As 
Lord Dufferin so eloquently remarked some years ago in 
words which may be applied to-day with even greater 
force and directness : — 

" It was hence that, counting her past achievements 
as but the preface and prelude to her future exertions and 
expanding destinies, she took a fresh departure, received 
the afflatus of a more imperial inspiration, and felt herself 
no longer a mere settler along the banks of a single river, 
but the owner of half a continent, and, in the magnitude 
of her possession, in the wealth of her resources, in the 
sinews of her material might, the peer of any power on 

It is, however, asserted by those who have but little 
faith in the future of the Dominion, excepting as an 
adjunct to the United States, and who have no sympathy 
with the national and imperial aspirations of statesmen 
like the late Sir John Macdonald, that this progress has 
only been made and this position attained by a vast and 
improper expenditure of public money, with the consequent 
undue taxation of the people. The following table will 
reveal the comparative position of Canada and the Aus- 
tralian colonies, which, it must be remembered, have 
nearly two millions less population and not nearly so great 
natural resources as has the Dominion : — 


Per Capita, 

Country. 1880. 1890. 1890. 

New South Wales... S 74,519,595 $253,289,245 S214.87 

New Zealand 12'^,085.565 184,898,305 298.01 

Queensland 0(j,24r,,430 129,204,750 333.4(> 

South Australia 49,3.30,000 102,177,500 321.00 

Tasmania 8,683,848 22,335,345 147.46 

Victoria 102,.538,.500 179,614,005 161.63 

Western Australia... 1,692,161 6,509,736 150.23 

.$431,090,099 .?858,028,886 S 47.51 
Canada 175,194,000 237,533,212 

Of course in Australasia the railways are largely owned 
by the State, and in Canada this is not the case, excepting 
in one or two instances. The amount, however, of $110,- 


000,000 spent on railways since Confederation cannot be 
considered unduly large when the construction of that 
stupendous work of engineering skill, and public as well as 
private enterprise, the C. P. R., is remembered. Nor has 
the annual expenditure been excessive. With all the vast 
extent of country requiring development, an area, indeed, 
of 3,315,647 square miles, extending north 1,400 miles 
from the great lakes, and east and west 3,500 miles, and 
with the amount of progress which has been already made, 
it can be considered little less than marvellous that the 
expenditure should have only increased from $4 per head 
in 1868 to $6.90 in 1890, while during the same period 
the revenue rose from $4.05 to $7.69. Compare this 
rate of expenditure with the Australian average of $35 
per capita, the British average of $10.90, or that of Cape 
Colony at $11.38, and it cannot be said that the Dominion 
has been unduly extravagant. 

Such is the material record of Canada given to a very 
limited degree. Of its potential power no man can ade- 
quately prophecy, but one assertion may be made with 
safety and accuracy. It presents the most fertile wheat- 
fields, the most boundless prairies, the most beautiful 
scenery, alternating between the sombre, the grand and the 
lovely, together with the broadest liberty of action and 
freedom of Government to be found in any part of the 
world. Better, indeed, than any attractions the United 
States can offer, and it would be well for the British 
investor if he would real'ze this fact and cease putting his 
money in the hands of American speculators, or Argentine 
rogues; cease building up foreign nations and turn 
instead to the colonies. There he would find abundant 
means of making money in security, while building up not 
only a United Kingdom at home but a United Empire 
abroad, by the all-powerful, unifying and vivifying forces of 
capital and credit. 

Here the British emigrant or capitalist is a citizen at 
once. In the States, as the Chicago Tribune, the chief 
newspaper of the West, told Mr. Scully — an Englishman 
who owns large tracts of land in Illinois — the other day : — • 

" Much as it may surprise him to learn it, aliens and 
citizens do not stand on the same footing. What the 


latter are entitled to as rights, the former cau only enjoy 
as favours. A citizen has a constitutional right to hold 
land, but an alien has not. He can get it only by virtue 
of a treaty or a State law. And, as in the case of an alien 
holding land, it is a license instead of a right ; it can be 
withdrawn whenever the power which grants the license 
chooses in the exercise of its sovereignty to withdraw it." 

Turning, however, from this development of Canada, 
past and present, in the strict material sense, it would 
perhaps be well to glance very briefly at its political 

Our Dominion boasts a history of which her people 
can well feel proud. Composed of two distinctive races 
who, a century ago, battled under the fliga of their respec- 
tive nations for the possession of a continent ; with each 
branch of the people proud of its past, and glorying equally 
in the memories of historic greatness, yet merging senti- 
ments, apparently antagonistic, in pride of a common 
country and labour for its unity and welfare. Serious 
troubles have arisen ; leaders of one race or the other 
may act as fire-brands, and fan the embers of discord 
as Mr. Honore Mercier and others did during the Riel 
Rebellion in the North-West ; but, taken as a whole, the 
French Canadian people are loyal, not only to British 
Connection and the flag of a common empire, but loyal to 
the country of their home, and willing to aid in its 
upbuilding and in its progess. At the present time the 
position of afl'airs in the Dominion is peculiar, and might, 
if not handled with statesmanship and care, produce at 
least a temporary retrogression. The questions at issue 
are new, and yet they may be said to be old. Confedera- 
tion is settled, but, some claim, not satisfactorily. The 
great railway is built, and yet a commercial and fiscal 
policy is proposed which would direct all trade to the 
south instead of east and west. The National Policy, or 
protective tariff, has been approved by popular vote over 
and over again, and yet the Liberal Party wishes to create 
free-trade with the States and adopt the American tariff, 
nearly twice as high as our own, against England. British 
Connection is undoubtedly in the present interests of the 
Dominion and its maintenance a matter of vital import 


to the Erapire and the world, and yet there are some who 
would like to abrogate the union now or in the nea 
future. For the sake of brevity and clearness, the peo 
pie of the Dominion may be divided into three sections : — 

I. The British element. This includes all who desire 
to maintain the Connection for the present, or who wish 
for clcser relations with Great Britain in the future, and 
also a certain small class who dream of a possible inde- 
pendence at some distant date. Of this great division of 
the people, which, with loyal Quebec, forms at present a 
large majority, Sir John Macdonald was the mentor, 
guide and inspiration. I believe that the existing Min- 
istry has taken up the mantle of his policy, and are try- 
ing to bear out the traditions of his name. 

II. The French-Canadians. Loyal to a flag which 
represents to them freedom of worship and of local insti- 
tutions, the French-Canadians may be depended upon, 
unless led away in a temporary gust of popular passion, 
to preserve the existing union, but will have to be edu- 
cated to the appreciation of closer political relationship 
with the Empire. Until very recently the Premier of the 
Province, and head of the Local Government, was the 
product of that disastrous agitation which arose mid a 
wave of fanaticism after the hanging of the rebel Riel. 
Pretending that such action was taken because he was a 
Frenchman, Honore Mercier attained power in 1886 upon 
his platform of race and of revenge. As a member of the 
Liberal party of the Dominion, Mr. Mercier obtained the 
active support of Mr. Wilfrid Laurier, the leader 
of the Liberal Opposition at Ottawa, and has, in return, 
powerfully aided him in subsequent Dominion elections. 
As an advocate of free-trade with the United States and 
discrimination against Great Britain, coupled with public 
declarations in favour of independence, and as the leading 
exponent of both racial and religious fanaticism in this 
Dominion, Mr. Merci'^r cannot but be considered one of 
the most dangerous of the troubles which Canada has had 
to endure, and which she has successfully overcome. The 
recent elections in Quebec have, however, proven a revela- 
tion of the innate honesty and genuine patriotism of the 


people, and have shown that that great Province is still 
overwhelmingly loyal to Canada and to the British Empire. 

III. The American party. This ia an element of great 
uncertainty. Mr. Goldwin Smith represents its literary 
features, and his recent work hardly leaves anything 
unsaid upon one side of what he terms " The Canadian 
Question." Mr. Erastus Wiman, of New York, is its 
mentor and American leader, while Sir Richard Cart- 
wright, the practical, though not nominal, leader of the 
Liberal party is its chief representative in Canada, The 
principles of this section of the people are somewhat 
fluctuating and the numbers difficult to estimate. It 
includes those who follow Mr. Wiman in his policy of 
Commercial Union with the States and are willing to go 
the full length of tariff and internal revenue assimilation 
with a joint council to control the fiscal affairs of the two 
nations ; it includes those who fear to go as far as this, 
but are willing to compromise by having free-trade with 
the States while expressing the hope of being able to retain 
our present tariff (30 per cent, lower than the American) 
against England. Needless to say no responsible politician 
in the Republic will support this policy of Unrestricted 
Reciprocity, or as the New York Tribune puts it, " the 
creation of a back-door 4,000 miles wide for British goods 
to enter the States." It includes besides a small element 
favouring almost immediate independence, which everyone 
who appreciates our circumstances knows would lead to 
annexation very shortly, and it also includes a still smaller 
number of avowed annexationists. 

It will thus be seen that the Dominion in a political 
sense has still much to do, and that the work of its foun- 
ders is not yet over, if a united British-Canadian nation is 
to be built up on this North-American continent. That 
such will be the end of their labours who can doubt ? 
Canadians have in the past shown a strength and deter- 
mination of character and a patriotism in principle which 
has enabled them to do much in the face of profound pes- 
simism and of many obstacles, and so it will be in the 
future. Clouds may overhang the horizon of the national 
hopes, or injure the immediate fruition of some great aspir- 



ation, but in the end matters will mend themselves and 
truth and honour prevail in the nation as it does in the 
majority of its individual members. During the last 
session at Ottawa, charges of wholesale corruption were 
flung broad-cast, with a view to injuring the Ministry which 
was supposed to have been weakened by the death of its 
great leader. That result has certainly not followed. But 
it has been proved lamentably true that a number of civil 
servants have used their positions of trust to commit 
various irregularities, and in some cases perpetrate black- 
mail, while the department of Public Works has appar- 
ently for some years past been under the malign influence 
and control of a set of cormorant contractors. This how- 
ever is all. Public opinion is sound, the Dominion Govern- 
ment firm and exemplary in its punishment of off'enders — 
high and low — and with the new regulations coming into 
force, our Civil Service will soon regain its reputation for 
purity and efficiency. How different it has been, and pro- 
bably will be in the future, from that immense band of 100,- 
000 appointees with total salaries valued at $100,000,000 
who are removable every four years in the United States 
under the "spoils system," may be gathered from the fol- 
lowing description by Senator Pendleton (Dec. 13, 1881) : 

" The name explains it. The name opens to every 
thoughtful man, nay, to every man who will see, even 
without thinking, a vision of wrong, injustice, brutality, 
wastefulness, recklessness, fraud, peculation, degradation 
of persons and of parties, which has driven from public 
life much of the cultivated intellect and refined morality of 
the country, and fills even the most hopeful mind with 
sadness for much in the present and grave anxiety for the 

The policy of the past in Canada has thus been, as a 
whole, patriotic and British in its inception, and Imperial 
in its progress and development. The great highway 
across the continent and the wide aspirations of Sir John 
Macdonald were alone enough to stamp it with such char- 
acteristics. It is well to remember, also, that Canadian 
protection does not discriminate against the interests of 
the United Kingdom, all products being taxed alike from 


the different countries. Thus, fiscally, England treats 
Canada as she does the United States, and the Dominion 
treats Great Britain exactly as she does the Republic. It 
is wrong on both sides, but still we can hardly do other- 
wise with our revenue requirements and our proximity to 
the States until the United Kingdom modifies its fiscal 
system, and creates commercially a united Empire. Even 
as it is, our trade with Great Britain leaped up eleven 
millions in 1890, and decreased three millions with the 

The future is always uncertain, but, if the instincts of 
an imperial race prove true, the time will come when the 
great Crowned republics of Britain, Australia, South 
Africa and Canada will unite in organized and continuous 
action for the common weal. Meantime, in the words of 
a statesman already referred to, one who voiced this senti- 
ment in almost unequalled eloquence : — 

" Canada dreams her dream and forbodes her destiny — 
a dream of ever broadening harvests, multiplying towns 
and villages, and expanding pastures ; of constitutional 
self-government and a confederated Empire ; of page 
after page of honourable history, added as her contribution 
to the annals of the Mother Country and the glories of the 
British race ; of a perpetuation for all time upon this 
continent of that temperate and well-balanced system of 
government which combines in one mighty whole, as the 
possession of all Englishman, the brilliant history and tra- 
ditions of the past with the freest and most untrammelled 
liberty of action in the present,"